tv Our World With Black Enterprise CW December 13, 2009 6:30am-7:00am EST
hello. this week, disney is about to introduce a princess of color. "the princess and the frog" o n opens. i had a chance to sit down with the young lady who was the voice and spirit of princess tiana. >> the mardi gras princess about to kiss a -- a frog. the wonderful actress, anik anika noni rose. welcome back. good to see you always. >> good to be here. >> last we talked, you were gearing up for this, getting excited about it. i am told that you are more than excited. fair to say? >> i'm very excited. i would say ecstatic.
i would very well claim ecsta c ecstatic. >> i know when we talked about it, you were on another project and we were literally done with the shoot and i said hey, i hear you're going to be a princess and you talked about what you thought it was going to be like. that expectation and the reality of it, compare the two. >> it's been bigger than i imagined it was going to be. i think there was no gearing up for the level of specialness, for lack of a better word, of what this is and what it means to society as a whole, our country as a whole. because when you touch children, you change things. so when we talk about the level of self-affirming for black children that see this movie. and then you think about their friends who may or may not be black, but who see their friends. and at this point in time, family members, cousins, you know, siblings of brown skin in
this light. so for these children to grow up with this message of inclusion, and for their friends and family around them to see them in this situation as royalty, to see them in fantasy, i think fantasy is such an important tool for children, and it's so important for them to be able to see themselves and to see the people around them included in fantasy, because that's the way they live. i think it allows us to open up who we are as americans and to just find a level of growth that you don't get necessarily when you're trying to teach a less son. . >> and the affirmative image given to african-american girls, talk about what that must mean to these girls. >> well, you know, there are little things that i think of that become big things later on, but, you know, when it's time to
play princess, they don't have to whip out a when he will low towel and p-- yellow towel and t on their hair. they're special, too, and worthy to be showered in fairy dust and sparkling. you know, i think when you see yourself in one position consistently it shapes your mind to think that that's where you have to be, whether you think about it or not. it's subliminal. this is opening up a world to these children to think of themselves as something beautiful with their curly hair and full lips and brown skin as something beautiful and worthy to be held aloft. ♪ this old town can slow you down taking the easy way but i know;/q,actly where
i'm going getting closer and closer every day ♪ ♪ and i'm almost there i'm almost there send ♪ >> when you were a girl -- >> last year? >> two or three days ago, wasn't it? >> did you immerse yourself in fairy tale? did you dream of being a princess? >> i didn't really dream of being a princess. i was a big reader, so i immersed myself in lots of fantasy. i would read anything, but i think because i was a reader, i wasn't really hung up on images that were outside of that, because when you are reading you create your own images. and my parents were so very strong in letting me know who i was and what was beautiful about the things that made me me, whether i thought i was a beautiful child or not -- i didn't -- but they were so clear
that it wasn't -- if i didn't feel beautiful, first of all, i was wrong. secondly, it's not because of how you're built or how you're made. something inside of you is making you not feel beautiful. and that's what you need to access. what i did notice when i was little -- oh, this story was terrible. i'm sorry, i came home from nursery school when i was 2. when i was 5 it grew out some. my mother would curl it in rollers and sit me in the shower and let the steam soet it. so i had a soft afro. it takes my parents to tell you. i was sitting at the table and i kept going -- and i'm like -- they're like what are you doing?
and i was like, i'm getting my hair out of my face. my hair couldn't reach my face if it had been pulled really hard. that east's what i mean about subliminal imagery. this is beautiful, beautiful, bounce and behave, pert. this is beautiful. when you're not bouncing and behaving or you're not pert or you don't have the colgate smile, you feel less than, whether you realize it or not. this, i think, will go a long way in changing realization and sense of being and that is so, so important. >> what is it for you personally to be part of the disney lure, to the part of that family. that has to be exciting for you. >> were i not in heels and a
dr dress, past pocahantes, past aladin to the bayou. i've always wanted to do a disney voice since i saw "fantasia" and there were no voices in that except for mickey mouse talking to the sourcerer. i'm from connecticut. i'm a big dreamer. i never dreamed that i would be the princess. >> stay with us. more with anika noni rose right after this. >> this movie is saying believe, work, love, and ascend. well-informed people are coidering chevy malibu. you a cop? no. you didn't ar from me, but this malibu is best buy. i heard that from consumers digest. it offers better highway mileage than a comparable camry or accord. estimated 3highway. i saw that on the epa site.
so how come the malibu costs so little. it's a chevy. you have cop hair. the award-winning chevy malibu. compare it to anyone and may the best car win. with an epa estimated 32 mpg highway, chevy equinox offers up to 600 highway miles between fill ups. that's like going from l.a. to the grand canyon. or from aspen to amarillo. you won't get nearly as far in a rav4 or cr
>> yes, yes, yes. this is exactly the answer. you must kiss me. >> excuse me. >> you will enjoy it. i guarantee it. >> often, we have seen sleeping beauty and otherriririririris really take on a bigger role than just the fairly tale. they become iconic and they become to a great degree life lessons. what do you want this to be? >> i would like this to be the very same thing.
i think there are beautiful lessons in this movie for all children of all backgrounds. what we don't talk about as much is the message for the adults. tiana is a joung woman raised by loving and caring people. she and her daddy have such a beautiful relationship. and he's the one who's encouraging her and her wanting to open to restaurant and being a chef. >> okay, i'm about to put this spoon in my -- wait. done. >> hmm. >> what? >> well, sweetheart, this is the best gumbo i've ever tasted. come here. >> i feel that when you believe in your child, the dream might change, the journey might change, but they always have you. you give them wings.
i had people who believed in me at all times. it didn't matter what i said i wanted to do. it didn't matter how farfetched. no one i knew was an actor. no one in my town was saying yeah, do that. as a matter of fact, i had a guidance counselor who said i should go find a trade. go into teaching. i'm still mad at you. i believe firmly that without the sense of structure, the sense of faith in myself which came from people saying you can do it, whatever it is, i would not be here. my brand grandmother every single day would be, if it's to be, it's up to me.
if there's something you want to do, there's no defeat unless you concede. i believe that. i believe it. and this movie is saying, believe, work, love, and ascend. >> let me ask you this before we wrap up. there's an irony, i think. i don't want to overstate, at the comparison, but the idea of the imagery of president obama in office this year, and the idea of this, really is ironic to a great degree, is it not? >> i think it is ironic. i think it's many, many things. it's coincidence. >> because we should note, there have been septics who say oh, disney is trying to calculate on and pick up on the obama mania,
but i know having talked to you, these things are on the drawing board years and years and years in at advance. you don't just pop this up. >> no, and literally it was being drawn. i was working on this -- i started working on this in 2006 i believe? late 2006. 2006 or 2007. i had been working on it about two year, maybe two and a half. with no knowledge of president barack obama or a senator barack obama. and his jurn knee. it doesn't lessen what he has done and what this country has done to bring him to where he is. >> how much of the princess is you? i'm told the princess left-handed because you're left-handed. how much of it is a piece of you? >> i think it's very strongly a
piece of me. she's the character to whom i'm most like, most similar. i am thrilled with her. i am thrilled with her. we had long conversations about what we wanted her to look like. i didn't want her to be cookie cutter. i didn't want her to be something that we've seen before and just been given aruba in a tuba. they were so receptive and excited to jump on that. i wanted her to be distinctly who she is. >> finally, what's next for you? obviously you're going to ride this wave, but what do you want to do career wise. i don't mean the next movie, the next -- but what's next for you? >> i would like to produce. i would like to produce. ultimately at some point, i think i will probably direct, but i have some more watching to do before that happens. i would love to be able to be in
a situation where somebody hears my name and says, yeah, let's use her. she's nothing like this character, let's use her anyway. that's what i want. >> we're excited to see what's next, but for now, we'll ride this wave with you. we're so excited about this. >> thank you. >> and congratulations. in just a moment, the artist behind the evil dr. facilier. back in a moment. >> so i imagine dr. facilier is the result of a date between cruella deville and captain hook. i imagine they would create a dr. facilier.
responsible for bringing the villain in "the princess and the frog" to life. >> my job as a supervisori isup animator in "the princess and the frog" is i draw dr. facilier. when you first meet him, he may not be as evil as you think, but as the film progresses, he unfolds like an artichoke and you really start to sort of see who this character is and what he's made of. and as an artist, you're responsible for that arc throughout the entire film. from the evil stepmother in cinderella to captain hook in peter pan to cruella deville in "101 dalmatians" disney villains have become legendary in american culture. >> i would imagine dr. facicier
as the result of a date between cruela deville and continue kapt hook. >> he uses witchcraft to sing and dance his way into people's hearts. ♪ it's the greenest of green that i see ♪ "the princess and the frog" brings walt disney picture back into its original art form for a whole new generation. >> the most rewarding part of being a part of this film specifically is that it ushers in our -- you know, our sort of brand-new era of hand drawn animation. hand drawn animation is really what the legacy of disney animation was based on. >> normally when i go over a typical scene, i have to go back in and add his beads. then go back in and add his feather to his hat and then coat tails.
>> born and raised in los angeles, california, bruce has been drawing cartoons since he was 5. but a friend pointed out that there were no black people in cartoons. >> i was like what do you mean? he's like, ever see the flintstones? no black people in the flintstones. there's no black people in the flintstones. i never thought about it. no black people in the past, no black people in the future. i wanted to change that. >> we created "bebe's family" and now "the proud family." and now this. >> there are a lot of artists of color step into this business and really making a business. i've done projects that have african-american characters that are central, but i can't be the only one to do those types of projects. so it's good to know -- and it's good for students of this
business, kids to know that there is, you know, a face behind those projects. i hope this film inspires lots of young artists to see themselves on the screen and want to continue to pursue this as a !qcareer, because we want animators to come in and help us, you know, continue to carry this legacy. i would say as an artist, you know, soak it all in. and if that's something you want to do, completely, pursue it. >> we'll be right back.
the frog" opens this weekend. go see it. visit our website at blackenterprise.com and leave questions or comments about the show. i'm ed gordon. thanks for joining us, and most of all, thanks for making our world your world. for my arthritis, i use new capzasin quick relief gel. (announcer) starts working on contact and at the nerve level. to block pain for hours. new capzasin, takes the pain out of arthritis.